The big picture: Microsoft’s recent Windows 10 May 2020 Update (version 2004) introduced a number of new features and tweaks including a segment heap memory improvement for Win32 applications to help them manage memory more efficiently. Microsoft’s Edge browser leverages the new technique and according to Redmond, memory usage dropped by as much as 27 percent in Edge in internal testing. Now, Google is working on a similar implementation for Chrome.
As recently outlined by a Google engineer, the Chromium team is adding a segment heap entry to Chrome that will prompt the browser to use the newer heap on compatible systems (Windows 10 version 2004 and later) rather than the legacy heap.
The dev notes that the default Windows heap appears to be tuned for server workloads where throughput is valued above all else. Due to Chromium’s multi-process architecture, however, the memory footprint is an obvious concern.
The Google staffer notes that early experiments suggest segment heap utilization in Chrome could save hundreds of megabytes in the browser and network service utility processes on some machines. Mileage will likely vary greatly although the biggest gains are likely to materialize on multi-core systems.
Chrome has a spotty reputation as being a serious memory hog. Google has addressed memory utilization on multiple occasions yet still, it remains a concern for many. The switch to segment heap should further steer the ship in the right direction.
Image courtesy Georgii Shipin